KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 – Malaysia and Singapore will decide the netball gold medal on Sunday (20 Aug). In the semi-finals played today at Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara, Tracey Robinson’s Malaysian squad triumphed 70-28 over Brunei whilst defending champions Singapore endured some rough and anxious moments before prevailing 55-43 against Thailand.
An estimated 800 fans and the Malaysian players also received a pleasant surprise midway through the semi-finals encounter with the arrival of Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor, wife of the Prime Minister. The presence of Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah had no doubt motivated the Malaysian team further as they went on a fast-track mission to rally for points and in the process confirmed their third appearance in the final since the 2001 Games in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysian head coach Tracy, said: “Brunei was a transformed side today, unlike when we defeated them in the preliminary round stage. They were better organised and played well midway the match.” “We will once again meet Singapore in the final, and I know the players are excited and determined to erase our defeat against the Singaporeans two years ago.
The team are playing exceptionally well in our run-up to the final. I am confident the final is going to be an exciting affair,” added the Australian. She was equally happy with the performance of defenders Shandralelka Shanmugam and Pow Mei Foong who played a pivotal role in denying Brunei from coming anywhere near the goal-shooting area.
“We are ready for the final against Singapore tomorrow (Sunday) and I’m giving the players time off to take complete rest. They have worked hard to qualify for the final again,” said Tracey. Brunei head coach, Thilaka Jinadasa, conceded that it would have taken a miracle to deny the Malaysians victory.
“As I have said before, the Malaysian team has all-round strength and it was never going to be easy for my players. But I am happy with the determination showed by my players. I am sure Brunei will learn from this experience and be contenders in 2019,” she added.